Healthy gums will look pink, firm and supple. When your dentist or hygienist performs periodontal charting, the readings should be between 1mm-3 mm. There should never be any sign of bleeding while brushing your teeth or flossing. If bleeding does occur you might be experiencing gingivitis.
In simple terms, gingivitis is the precursor to periodontal disease. The gums begin to get inflamed, red around the gum line and bleeding will occur when you brush and floss. When the hygienist or dentist does their periodontal charting, it will show some 4 mm pocket depths. Gingivitis is preventable and curable with proper brushing and flossing.
Periodontal disease is gum disease that affects the tissues and bone surrounding the teeth, which progresses into bone loss. If left untreated, periodontal disease can result into loose teeth and eventual loss of teeth. Periodontal disease is caused by "bugs" or microorganisms that latch onto the tooth surface and, if not removed daily by brushing and flossing, can progress at a rapid rate and lead to redness, inflammation, bleeding, pain, and bone loss. Periodontal pocket depths will be 5 mm and above. Once periodontal disease and bone loss is diagnosed, it is important to see the dentist every 3 months for your periodontal maintenance cleaning.
How do we treat periodontal disease?
Also known as a "deep cleaning", scaling and root planing is the process of removing dental plaque and calculus (tartar) from the roots of the teeth. Plaque and calculus contain the bacteria that cause the inflammation, redness, bleeding and bone loss. Local anesthetic is given so that the process is easy and comfortable for the patient. The dentist or hygienist will then remove the plaque and calculus with hand instruments and a cavitron, which uses water and an ultrasonic vibration.